PDA

View Full Version : Income support rules for tenants who take in lodgers



early@wakingdance.co.uk
29-01-2009, 22:41 PM
I am a single 'mature' (45yrs) mother with a 4 1/2 yr old son. I have recently qualified as a social worker and am now looking for part time work. I am therefore temporarily in receipt of income support and housing benefit. Unfortunately I received notice to leave our current home and have just signed up for a new property. We are entitled to the local Housing Allowance to assist with housing costs up to our entitlement, which is 2 bedrooms. The new property has 3, and the rent is correspondingly higher. I took on the property anyway, thinking I could make up the difference between the rent and the LHA by taking in a lodger.
I was told by my personal adviser from the job centre that the whole rent my lodger would by paying me minus £20 disregard would be deducted from my income support, rather than just the 'profit' I would be making with the help of the lodger. The number of rooms and the amount of rent I would be paying out is irrelevant. She also suggested I check this with the main Jobcentre Plus office dealing with my area, which I did. They suggested I write to the Decisionmaker at their office, explaining this situation, and this would be then dealt with as a 'complex case'. In this letter I showed that if the calculation I was suggested by my personal adviser would be used, would leave me with £10.50 to live and pay all bills. The Jobcentre Plus office have just phoned me and confirmed the information I had previously been given. If I was charging my lodger £70, £50 would be taken off my income support, regardless of the fact that the third bedroom is beyond our requirements and all I am doing is using the lodger's rent towards mine.
The staff at the job centre have been brilliant, but the benefit rules seem unfair to me. Does anyone know ways of challenging the benefit rules beyond the time this situation applies to me (I will sign off shortly, I hope!). I feel this particular rule penalises people in my situation who are trying to be creative, for example by sharing, and discourages this kind of solution which would relieve the stress on the housing market. Sharing for us anyway makes sense, as that way my son would be exposed to more adult influences than just me, which is actually not good for him, or me. I know many other single parents think about their isolation with their child, especially a single child, about sharing in a similar way.
Who in a position of power to influence benefit rules I could contact to argue my point, including maybe campaigning organisations? Is there anyone out there who has been in a similar situation, and not been able to get help towards their rent from a lodger as income support deduct this from their entitlement?

Editor
30-01-2009, 10:23 AM
This may help

http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/lodgers_rent-a-room.htm

early@wakingdance.co.uk
31-01-2009, 23:23 PM
Thanks for looking at my post, and yes, your info good info. I had come acroos it already. I am aware of the really good position I will be in as soon as I will be off benefits. So much tax free etc. I would definitely be under the limit for it to be taxable. So, yes, hopefully after I have signed off it will be a good thing. Just a shame that when you need the help by sharing the cost of housing with someone most, it does not "pay", quite the contrary, you impoverish yourself!
Will be off benefits soon anyway, but the rules still annoy me!

Michael Clayton
03-02-2009, 16:28 PM
Looking at the facts (as presented), you chose a 3-bedroom house and decided to take on a lodger to make up the LHA deficit. You are then given a £20 disregard on top of your income support. Seemingly, you are £20.00 better off and you also have also facilitated a 3-bedroom LHA allocation. Sorry if I have missed something obvious but I am trying to understand your issue.

early@wakingdance.co.uk
05-02-2009, 10:50 AM
Well, it would make complete sense if what you are saying was what I had been told by Jobcentre Plus. I was told, though, that the whole amount of rent that I receive from a lodger would be regarded as "income", i.e. that the proportion of that rent that I use to pay my own would NOT be offset, so that I could in theory end up losing all my income support, depending on how much rent I would be charging. Because of that, I have actually NOT taken in a lodger yet, as it seems I will be worse off, so the situation I am describing is as yet hypothetical. In either case, I will soon be impoverished if I don't get off income support soon. I have since had info that suggests that I received the wrong information from job centre plus. When I asked them to confirm the information they gave over the phone in writing, I did not hear from them again. Am currently exploring this with Citizens Advice.

Michael Clayton
17-02-2009, 12:25 PM
If I can obtain the postcode, I will be able to provide you with some precise calculations. If you would rather confirm the postcode privately (by sending me a message), I will obtain the LHA and then present the amounts (not the address!) back onto the forum so that we can all learn from your experience. Thanks.

verrowe
21-02-2009, 15:36 PM
I was once in this position but it was over 6 years ago. Not sure if the rules have changed but I was able to claim that the lodgers rent went towards housing costs not covered by income support. I did however own my own home and the rent as supposed to cover the capital element. I was also in receipt of DLA. I did have appeal to the tribunal as no-one in the benefits office knew of this rule. It may not apply to rent but I would have thought that the rules should disregard the amount between your rent and what you are getting.
Anyway if you provide meals (ie breakfast) you can claim a disregard of £20 plus 50% of balance of rent from each lodger. see jobcentre plus website http://www.jobcentreplus.gov.uk/jcpwelsh/static/Dev_010129.xml.html.
Hope this helps

verrowe
21-02-2009, 16:54 PM
Re my prior post, the relevant regulation is - Schedule 9 para 30 1 e of the IS general regs.

"30.—(1) Except where paragraph 29 2or 30ZA applies, and subject to subparagraph
(2), any payment made to the claimant which is intended to be used and is
used as a contribution towards–
(a) any payment due on a loan if secured on the dwelling occupied as the home
which does not qualify under Schedule 3 (housing costs);
(b) any interest payment or charge which qualifies in accordance with paragraphs
15 to 17 of Schedule 3 to the extent that the payment or charge is not met;
(c) any payment due on a loan which qualifies under paragraph 15 or 16 of
Schedule 3 attributable to the payment of capital;
(d) any amount due by way of premiums on–
(i) 3an insurance policy taken out to insure against the risk of being unable
to make the payments referred to in (a) to (c) above; or
(ii) a policy of insurance taken out to insure against loss or damage to any
building or part of a building which is occupied by the claimant as his
home.
(e) his rent in respect of the dwelling occupied by him as his home but only to
the extent that it is not met by housing benefit; or his accommodation charge
but only to the extent that the actual charge 4exceeds the amount payable
by a local authority in accordance with Part III of the National Assistance Act
1948."

early@wakingdance.co.uk
08-03-2009, 20:23 PM
Thank you so much for this. What you quoted seems to indicate that I was right in my thinking that the amount of rent that is not covered by Housing Benefit should be disregarded, if I understand this right?

So useful to have the actual legislation, thanks! Sorry I have not looked at the forum for a while.

early@wakingdance.co.uk
08-03-2009, 20:26 PM
If I can obtain the postcode, I will be able to provide you with some precise calculations. If you would rather confirm the postcode privately (by sending me a message), I will obtain the LHA and then present the amounts (not the address!) back onto the forum so that we can all learn from your experience. Thanks.
Dear Michael, I will send postcode separately. The next but one post from Verwe, with the quotation of the legislation, seems to indicate, though, that I was right in my thinking that the amount I get from a lodger which is not covered by my housing benefit should be disregarded? Sorry for late reply, I have not been on this forum for a while

Michael Clayton
12-04-2009, 21:43 PM
Hello Everyone,

I have sent early@wakingdance.co.uk a message to ascertain the circumstances. There is a degree of confidentiality that must be respected. If possible, I will provide an update on any aspects that are pertinent.